How to react to negative reviews in steam, and how to distinguish constructive criticism from trolls?
The Internet has greatly reduced the distance between developers and gamers.
Earlier the developers could get the full feedback about the coming game only some time later, but today we are organized in such a way that thousands of users' reviews on the new game are available just in a couple of hours after its release. And it's good if these reviews are low-key or positive, but what if they are all negative?
To delete and delete them is not an option - too strong reputation defeat, to enter into an emotional dialogue trying to prove the wrong commenter - too energy-consuming and frankly useless.
So how to be in this situation?
Now we will tell you how to properly respond to negative reviews on Steam, and why it is extremely important to build a normal communication with your customers!
Firstly just remember - it is impossible to please everyone!
The gaming industry is an extremely competitive environment, and sometimes some of your competitors will not play by the rules.
Some will deliberately leave bad reviews, some will underrate, so we suggest you kill the conformist in you trying to please everyone right away!
Remember your goals and plans, respond only to constructive criticism, but even then, do not forget that the users of the game - just people, and each of them just can not please.
There's no way you can control what gamers will say or feel from your game experience, but you can control your reaction to their feedback (even negative), and as practice shows, this is much more important.
What do I need to remember when dealing with negative feedback?
1. We are all human!
We already wrote it above, but we'll say it again!
Well, people are inherently emotional.
But when your communication with users is limited to a conversation in the comments, it is almost impossible to read the emotions and intonations of the person who left a review.
This is the main disadvantage of working with online criticism, because we can't see a person's face or hear their tone, which often leads to misunderstanding.
So don't respond with emotion to emotion, the main advantage of online responses is that you have more time to plan your response!
Take advantage of this, rather than responding in the heat of the moment.
Remember, getting through any game is a highly emotional process, so a negative review can be taken out of context, or it can be about a single element of your game. Don't take negative feedback personally, because it's about the product.
Let's say a customer writes a negative review that is constructive about your game. It's entirely possible that this customer has made valid (albeit extremely negative) criticism that will be helpful to other Steam users and your game. However, because you can't hear their tone or see their expression, you take their words personally and react inadequately in the heat of the moment, even though you could have used that feedback for the good of your game!
However, if you suddenly encounter toxic and abusive reviews with no constructive criticism, but only mudslinging and personalities, you should definitely not waste your time on this. The easiest way is to report them to Steam or ignore them. There are and always will be trolls, and as you know, gamers are a bit of a toxic community, so negative feedback without criticism or argument is unfortunately inevitable.
Instead of getting into an emotional dispute with aggressive users, we recommend that you focus on those negative feedbacks that are constructive and reasoned, because they can (and should) benefit you and your game.
2. Your game users aren't the only ones who will read reviews!
Players will perceive your game in different ways, and that's okay! Someone will be able to turn a blind eye to small bugs, and for someone it will be a red rag in the hands of a matador!
But politely and courteously respond to both.
Yes, you've spent countless hours studying every mechanic of your game, and you think you know literally everything about it better than anyone else.
But for those who are playing it for the first time, it's a whole new experience, allowing you to find new bugs with an unfocused outside eye!
As harsh as constructive criticism of your project may be, don't get into an argument and prove your point.
Try to hear your opponent, and let him or her know that their feedback is valuable to you!
Remember that the customer is not the only one reading your response. And being able to withstand constructive criticism with dignity greatly increases loyalty among players, so be kind and, most importantly, don't be passive-aggressive.
If you understand that negative feedback hit you "hard," and you can not respond to it with a "cool head," it is better to postpone the response.
We do not need to get emotional.
3. Accept the fact that not every customer will like your game.
It's hard, it's painful, but it's true!
That's why we strongly recommend that you respond to criticism as constructively, respectfully, and unemotionally as possible.
Potential players may also realize that you can't please everyone, so they may take negative feedback calmly, especially if these reviews are followed by an extremely respectful response.
4. You are the voice of your game.
Remember this every time you have a question - "why do I even have to respond to these comments?"
Communicating with your customers shows that you care about them and your product, especially in an era where games come and go in an instant.
The main purpose of responding to negative feedback is not to "suck up" to your customers or mislead them. Remember - you're not asking them to change their review, you're just responding in a friendly way that helps them see you, your product and perhaps their review in a different light. At that point, the customer should decide what to do next, depending on how you responded.
5. There are pros and cons to working with negative feedback!
The pros are more than obvious!
By responding to the comment you allow the user to be heard, moreover, your response will help you not only retain old users, but also attract new ones. For example, a friendly response to a review can earn you a new customer because they appreciated your response. This inspires a lot of trust and increases user loyalty.
Or at least your response can inspire the customer to add your game to their Steam wishlist.
We've got the pros, now let's move on to the cons, and the only minus in a response to a negative review is you.
Every time you think about the answer to a negative review, remember a simple saying: "It takes 20 years to build a good reputation, and five minutes to destroy it".
I suggest you write this saying on a post-it note and stick it on your computer screen.
A simple but effective way to refrain from an emotional response that can undo all the work you've done in an instant!
6. Testimonials serve customers
Don't forget that the Steam feedback system is primarily designed to help the customer, not the developer.
Unfortunately, you are likely to encounter dozens (if not hundreds) of completely inappropriate comments and trolling. In such cases, we again advise you to simply report such reviews to Steam.
If the review is extremely useless, Steam users have an opportunity to reject it, which will make it less noticeable in the algorithm.
And one last thing!
Don't get frustrated and get caught up in the negative reviews.
Even the most popular games on Steam get a lot of negative feedback. Remember how much hype there was after the release of Cyberpunk 2077?
Steam was flooded with negative reviews, but CD Projekt RED withstood this flood of negativity, listened to the players, and finally brought the game to mind!
And now go to the page best game of 2022 Elden Ring!
A lot of negative reviews can be found there, moreover, you can find several videos on YouTube devoted to the fact that Elden Ring is a very bad game.
And here we come back to the fact that we are all human, and people are notoriously difficult to please!
Just do your job, listen to feedback and get valuable experience out of it. It's impossible to please everyone, and you don't have to. After all, in an attempt to fit everyone, your game can lose its own face, and alienate the fanbase that genuinely loves your game for what it is!